April is Oral Health Month, but this year things are a little different. Dentistry is still an essential service, and Ontario’s dentists are here to help. But at this time, all non-essential dental appointments should be rescheduled. If you have an appointment coming up and haven’t heard from your dentist already, give them a call.

If you think you have a dental emergency, call your dentist. They will ask you for information about your situation and give you advice about next steps. If you need to go to a dental office for treatment, your dentist will let you know if they can help or direct you to another dentist. Not all dentists have the proper safety equipment needed to treat emergencies or guard against COVID-19.

In the meantime, practicing good dental hygiene and following healthy lifestyle habits is more important than ever. Check below for tips on keeping your teeth healthy when you can’t see your dentist, and learn more about what you can expect from your dentist this month.

How Can I Take Care of My Teeth?

  • Brush your teeth using the proper technique at least twice a day for two to three minutes each day.
  • Floss daily. It’s more effective than brushing alone, as it helps to remove food debris and bacteria from places the toothbrush can’t reach.
  • Eat a healthy diet, rich in calcium, phosophours, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D rich in omega-3 fats.
  • Quit or cutback on smoking.
  • If you’re consuming marijuana, do so in moderation. Marijuana smoke can cause oral cancer, dry mouth and staining, and THC can weaken your immune system.
  • Be mindful of stress. Regular exercise, mediation and deep breathing can help diminish the negative impact of stress on your mouth and immune system.
  • Snack in moderation, and swish with water after eating sugary snacks to help wash away sugar and acid.
  • Chew sugarless gum to help stimulate saliva flow and avoid dry mouth. That salivary stimulation helps protect your teeth from decay-causing bacteria.
  What Can I Expect From My Dentist?

  • Dentists equipped to treat emergency cases have been receiving guidance from the Ministry of Health to conduct passive and active screening of patients and develop plans for referral of suspected cases of COVID-19.
  • All non-essential dental appointments should be rescheduled. Give your dentist a call if you have an upcoming appointment.
  • If you think you have an emergency case, call your dentist.
  • A true emergency includes:
    • Trauma – an injury to the mouth and face
    • Severe infection, such as an abscess or swelling
    • Bleeding that continues for a long time
    • Dental pain that can’t be managed by over-the-counter medications such as Tylenol or Advil
  • If you don’t have a dentist, see the RCDSO’s list of emergency clinics. Do not go to a hospital emergency room for a dental problem at this time.